Paintings in The VaticanWhen to go
Spring and Autumn are good times to visit as the climate it pleasant. In the summer the heat and crowds can be oppressive. Take an umbrella is my recommendation for visiting Rome in the Spring. It rained every day on my recent trip. If you don't have an umbrella in the rain you will be approached by many numerous sellers trying to get you to buy an umbrella!
Taxis are expensive
Don't be caught paying over the odds for taxis. Go to the official taxi rank at the airport and you will find there is a fixed price to the centre of Rome. This is currently 48 euros. People may approach you offering to take you for 80 euros - be careful not to be ripped off.
If you don't mind taking a bus you can book this in advance for 4 euros single and then get a taxi to your hotel from the Termini station.
The Roman Forum
Plan in advance
Popular tourist sites such as the Colosseum get tremendously busy. The Colosseum is the busiest attraction in Rome and has huge queues, and I mean huge! They say it gets over 4 million visitors a year. Book a ticket online and for an extra 2 euros you skip the lines! You can also buy an audio guide at the attraction. Highly recommended.
Consider taking a guided tour
Guided tours of places like the Vatican and the Sistine chapel can breathe life into the history. A tour is as good as the guide however. Unfortunately the one we had wasn't very good so you do take your chance here. Again you may feel it's worth paying for a guide, to skip the long queues to get into the Vatican. You can take photos inside the Vatican but not the Sistine chapel.
Go off the beaten track
Sometimes the unusual attractions are the most interesting. We visited the Capuchin monk museum and crypt. If you have children that have a morbid fascination with death, or you just like unusual things then this may interest them or you. The crypt is full of skulls and bones of monks arranged into various displays.
Say no firmly
Hawkers are everywhere selling scarves, umbrellas, key rings, and all manner of souvenirs. They often approach you if you are eating a meal outside, especially near a popular tourist area. The best way to get rid of them is to avoid eye contact but if persistent say "No" loud and firmly. I am sure most of you are familiar with this!
The Trevi Fountain
Crowds are everywhere
Crowds are everywhere, however at night is a good time to visit some of the attractions like the Spanish Steps as it is much quieter and also more romantic at night.
Cafes and restaurants
If you stand by the bar in a cafe it is cheaper if you just want a drink, rather than sit down. Many restaurants charge a cover charge which includes bread of a couple of euros each. The majority of the restaurants sell decent quality Italian food, pasta, pizza and meat dishes, however if you want other cuisine you may have difficulty finding it in Rome. The meat dishes are often just meat on its own. You would have to order vegetables separately.
Pharmacies are very good and most offer advice in English. You can buy some items in Rome like antibiotic drops which you can't buy over the counter in the UK without a prescription.
Rome is a lovely city, and with a bit of planning you can make the most of your time here. I hope my tips have helped you if you plan to go in the future. If you have already been tell me what you thought of the city or if you have any tips yourself.
I will leave you with the words of my husband who could be a tour guide .. "Here is the old stuff, here is the Roman stuff and here is the God stuff..."